Direct Reading

Apart from the classic dial-based models of exposure meter made by Weston, the company also designed a small range of simplified meters. Compact and straightforward in operation, they worked over a limited luminance range with a restricted number of shutter speeds and film types. Four basic models and one Cine variant were produced between 1938 and 1956.

Unlike the other families of meter made by Weston, these models vary considerably from each other in design and appearance, and all appear on auction sites from time to time. 

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Weston Direct Reading or Junior Exposure Meter Model 850

USA

1938

The first Direct Reading (DR) meter made by Weston. Styling reprises the classic Art Deco fan motif of the 650. The meter light value is set by the scrolling display against the film speed. Aperture and shutter speed combinations are then read off.

Weston Direct Reading or Junior Cine Exposure Meter Model 850

USA

1938

The Weston Junior (or Direct Reading) Cine meter: Identical in construction to the Junior 850 Universal, It is marked up in frames per second in place of shutter speeds and uses a relative brightness scale for luminance which matches that used on the model 819 Cine Exposure Meter.

Weston Cadet Direct reading (DR) Exposure Meter Model 852

USA

1949

This post-war Weston was the first to use A.S.A. film speed ratings. Thinner and rounder than the model 850, it works in the same way. Retains a redesigned version of the Art Deco fan motif. A rotating Invercone on the back can go over the cell to allow readings to be made of the light falling onto the subject, rather than reflected.

USA

1954

This small compact Direct Reading meter works differently from the earlier models: A rotating blind over the cell is used to set the film speed, desensitising it for slower speeds. The meter needle reads f stops directly for a reference shutter speed of 1/50th second. The table on the meter front corrects for other shutter speeds.

Weston Direct Reading (DR) Exposure Meter Model 854

USA

1956

Completely different in design again from the 3 earlier DR models, this raked green plastic-topped model uses the same cell blind as the 853 to set the film speed. The meter needle then reads off an aperture setting for a particular shutter speed. This is adjusted by a side wheel that barrels through the shutter speed range.